The International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched a set of guidelines for improving responses to ensure the wellbeing of migrants in countries experiencing conflict and natural disasters, following the outcome of a government-led, multi-stakeholder initiative launched in May 2014.
15 June 2016: The International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched a set of guidelines for improving responses to ensure the wellbeing of migrants in countries experiencing conflict and natural disasters, following the outcome of a government-led, multi-stakeholder initiative launched in May 2014.
The Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC) guidelines, released on 10 June 2016, highlight the great diversity of migrants’ situations, including: those who may be in an irregular situation; those who are fleeing natural disasters or violence; those who are victims of trafficking or in bonded labor; and those who are traditionally nomadic, such as some indigenous pastoralists. The guidelines were launched at an event in New York on 15 June, to be followed by an event in Geneva on 28 June.
The voluntary, non-binding guidelines include recommended actions for crisis preparedness, emergency responses, and post-crisis actions. The document notes that conflict and disasters often disproportionately affect migrants, who may become stranded or experience greater vulnerability. The IOM report also explains the basic principles underpinning the recommendations, and suggests ways to put the guidelines into practice. These include researching migration trends and demographics, requiring employers to maintain data on migrant workers, carrying out “positive communications” to counter prejudice against migrants, and providing language training to enable migrants to communicate in the language of their host country.
At the UN High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development (HLD) in 2013, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for addressing the plight of stranded migrants, and Peter Sutherland, UN Special Representative for International Migration, called for developing better ways to protect and assist migrants in crisis. Subsequently, the MICIC initiative was launched at the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) in Stockholm, Sweden, in May 2014. The US and Philippines co-chaired the MICIC process, supported by a working group with representatives from the Governments of Australia, Bangladesh, Costa Rica and Ethiopia, the European Commission, IOM, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the International Centre for Migration Policy and Development (ICMPD) and other partners. IOM served as the secretariat for this initiative, and the US and Australia funded several stakeholder consultations on the issue.
Separately, the EU has supported a four-year project launched in January 2015, known as ‘Migrants in Countries in Crisis; Supporting an Evidence-based Approach for Effective and Cooperative State Action.’ This project aims to support and complement the MICIC Initiative through research, regional consultations, and capacity building activities with governments, with particular attention being paid to socio-economic impacts of crises with migration implications. [MICIC Website] [Publication: Guidelines to Protect Migrants in Countries Experiencing Conflict or Natural Disaster] [ICMPD Webpage on EU Project]